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Fox on the Fairway

By Rose Flahive for Inside Beat Entertainment Magazine

Some say that laughter is the best medicine. This philosophy is particularly true when it comes to experiencing the structure of a classic comedy within live theater. Playwright Ken Ludwig's The Fox on the Fairway, a farce revolving around two warring country clubs, is fast-paced and funny.

When director of the Quail Valley Country Club, Bingham (Peter Scolari, The Polar Express), bets $100,000 along with his wife's (Mary Testa, Eat Pray Love) antique shop on the tournament, against his rival Dickie's (Michael Mastro, Law & Order) country club, the Crouching Squirrels, he thinks he is going to win. But once he discovers his star player has just switched clubs, Bingham depends on his new assistant Justin (Reggie Gowland, Seussical the Musical), whom he and co-worker Pamela (Amy Hohn, Hitch) discover through Justin's girlfriend Louise (Lisa McCormick, Love, Shakespeare). Justin is actually an amazing golfer and might be able to win the Quail Valley tournament, though keeping this easily upset hotshot away from any emotional turmoil that could affect his game is easier said than done.

One aspect that makes Fairway good quality humor is the surprises, both in plot and physically. Every time the story seems to settle into going in one direction, it suddenly twists and turns into a new one that leads to more trouble. The actors keep up with the speed of the story with high energy, providing huge laughs with every change. References to classic works by Homer, Shakespeare and other great writers that parallel what is happening on stage often appear, increasing the amount of humor to the show. None of the six cast members show any sign of being overwhelmed by the amount of joking, plot twists or rigorous physical exertion though; they all simply react with another humorous bit that ultimately keeps the audience falling out of their seats.

Fairway does not lean only on verbal humor, however. From whacky sweaters to silly props, the set and costumes contribute strongly to the visual humor of the show. And there is plenty of action going on as the cast runs, jumps and (occasionally) walks about the set. The Tap Room in which the show takes place in is beautifully designed and seems to have a personality of its own. Everything that brings the audience to the Quail Valley Country Club is delightful.

Ludwig (Shakespeare In Hollywood, Moon Over Buffalo) has outdone himself with his fresh new play, and he can gladly thank George Street Playhouse for bringing his ridiculous scenario to life in this production. The show never has a dull moment. The audience can see that the cast and crew have had fun assembling the show, and now finally, presenting it to the public. Fairway is a scratch play; it comes to life from the very first line, and keeps you entertained, even after the lights fade.

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